Under the Greenwood Tree is an affectionate and youthful portrait of a world Hardy knew well - village life in 'Wessex' - in which a romantic tale is set against changing circumstances. The traditional feature of local music making performed by the village band and choir is challenged by the modern innovation of organ and organist providing music in the church. Fancy Day, the new, comely school mistress is also an accomplished organist, and these qualities create conflict in the village, especially when the unmarried young vicar and Dick Dewy, a member of the Mellstock parish choir vie for her attention. In this, only his second novel, Hardy presents one of his most gentle and charming pictures.
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